tv Your Business MSNBC March 19, 2011 5:30am-6:00am EDT
present "your business" on msnbc. hi there everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg. welcome to "your business" where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. it has been said many times that you should follow your passion if you want to be successful in business. but sometimes that just isn't enough. what happens if the market for what excites you can't support a successful business? this week we meet a dog sled racer who built a secondary which is to support his primary passion and surprised himself when he discovered they now support each other. ♪ it's a great day for a dog sled ride ♪ >> he if dan mckeach shon could
choose to do one thing for the rest of his life, it would be this. >> it's almost a spiritual connection have i with the dogs and all of nature. >> this is the way he's felt since 1970 when his love of dog sledding compelled him to start thinks company krablonik which takes people on dog sledding rides. >> good boy, good boy. >> opening the business was a dream come true but even before he hung up his shingle, he knew that the sledding would not pay for itself. >> the restaurant came about as a financial support system for the dogs. >> it sounds a little crazy. support one financially risky business, dog sledding rides, with another financially risky business, a restaurant. but that's exactly what dan did. >> i was too young and dumb to know better when i started that and had a lot of energy. >> a lot of energy was what it took. dan not only created the idea for the restaurant, he actually built it himself.
>> a lot of these logs were put in not only by myself but help with a lot of other people along the way. a lot of love went into this place. >> that was all part of the plan. he could have supported the sledding doing something else, but that would have also been somewhere else. >> restaurant made sense because i could do it here with the dogs. >> reporter: soon after it open, the restaurant started doing exactly what it was meant to do, generate cash. >> the restaurant business when we first started it was highly successful. entirely financially. >> dan attributes the success of the restaurant partly to the beautiful location and the unique menu which features local game, but he says it's also in large part because of the dogs. >> there's a sim bion nick relationship between the two, and it's kind of magical, if you will. >> the two separate businesses quickly became dependent on each other not just financially but as dan's number two guy courtney says for marketing, as well.
>> could the restaurant exist without the dogs and could the dogs exist without the restaurant? >> they could but it would be a much smaller scale operation. you wouldn't run as many sleds as we run. if we didn't have the dog operation and just the restaurant, we would compete and market at a much different level than we doll currently. the customers eating at the restaurant confirmed the suspicion. >> we actually came yesterday to visit the kennels with her son and my brother and two brothers. and we just thought it was amaze. so we felt like we had to come back today and experience it ourselv ourselves. >> but the issue with two businesses tied at the hip is one when gets bad press, so does the other. charges of animal mistreatment at the dog sledding site have been voice on various occasions. state licensing agencies and police investigations have consistently upheld the practices they found at the company. but nonetheless, there are still some people angry and that anger
is directed towards the name krabloonyk. dan has always believed the companies do better than an loan. >> it is an operation that works very well together. if we separated one from the other, that's an unknown. >> again, it's that combination that attracted so many gefrts. evo is the manager of the vicer viceroy, an upscale hotel a few miles away. >> when you he will me your dog teams go out to dinner, i knew that's the ultimate of dog sledding. >> that's the ultimate challenge. >> though he has the choice of recommending dozens of restaurants he often sends people to krabloik for a meal and a dog sled ride. >> it is not manmade. it's a destination in itself. it's an experience. it's genuine. >> the authenticity comes from dan's true love for the dogs. talk about the restaurant and he's all business.
but get him out on the sled and everything he says clearly comes from the heart. >> this is where i find true freedom. >> which is why it was particularly gratifying for dan when empty 1990s, a funny thing started to happen. >> i had to scratch my head quite a bit when it started to happen. >> suddenly the dogs started supporting the restaurant. after many years of the restaurant providing cash for the sledding, things turned the other way. but dan said though he loves the dogs best, he would never close the restaurant. >> to either separate the two businesses out or get rid of one is going to hurt the other. that's why we're keeping this ep. >> it's more than one couldn't exist without the other at this point or it would xits on a much different scale. it's a scaly don't ca irto know about. >> taking the long view of the business, dan says he knows there's a cycle and at one point the restaurant may again support the dogs. and that's okay with him as long as he gets to keep doing what he
does best. >> good dogs, good dogs. ♪ white as snow >> it hasn't always been smooth sledding for the owners the kra blahnik but they now seem to be flourishing. let's turn to this week's board of directors. >> jerry silverman, the ceo of corporate turn around that helps business owns rear structure debt. >> jerry haze let, author of the book "the mirror test." great to see both of you. when we were watching this piece just now, you kind of muttered to yourself they should have two names. >> i take a look at the branding. it's tough to have a name for both businesses and be in such different businesses. both are very experienced in terms of having a great time with the restaurant and the dog sled has got to be a lot of fun. i don't know where that name really sits. if you're a customer you're thinking where does one start and end. like seeing a taxi determinist
and veterinarian and saying one way or another you get your dog back. i would question using an the same name for both businesses. >> their point is by uing the same name, we are providing something that nobody else in in area does. nobody has the association with dog sleds, nobody else has this restaurant that has this extra benefit. so in some ways respect they getting a benefit out of having the same name? >> he clearly has passion what he does. he mentions words like magical and love and freedom. i understand that he's passionate. when you're in business, you're in business to make money. i have to say that passion is one of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail. people, entrepreneurs get into business because they're passionate about what they do, but then they get into business and realize it's not that easy and they can't make a profit. >> yeah. i must say that when people say to me follow your passion and it's not followed by something else, i kind of roll my eyes. >> passion without a plan is a big mistake.
this guy has a plan. it's working for him we're second-guessing what he's do but it was raised there are some issues. . i think when you're passionate about that moo. >> the issues about the dog sledding. so there are allegations made about the dog sleds or how they treated the dogs which haven't been proven, but then the name is associated with the allegations. >> you have to look at it, do you want the association. inside of a family, it's a lifestyle. it's a little bit of that, but sometimes as jerry mentioned that passioning will get in the way. so it's important for him to separate some of that. if you're an owner you're looking at it differently than a customer. go back at looking at a customer and maybe you want to make changes in the future. >> watch out when you follow your passion but he did, right? so is he loves dog sled. what i said in the piece was true. talk to him about the restaurant and he talks about it. get him on the dog sled, he's like a different person. you can tell he was born to do that. so he did it.
he had this plan. he said even from the day he opened the dog sledding business, he knew he had to do something else. >> j. j., the problem is he's basing his business on his needs, not the customers' needs. that is a major fau pass. >> he has this is wonderful restaurant with good food. >> he's not sure if the restaurant can support itself or they are both key dependent. he needs to take a step back and bring in someone else, you're living your dream right now. i don't know if it's a financially good idea. >> that's okay if that's what he wants out of it. is he meeting his own conditions can of satisfaction. sounds like that's what he's doing it for. it's not a scale issue for him. if it is, i think he would look at it differently. he's decided this is about lifestyle for him. that's a wonderful thing for an owner to do, making his needs being met in terms of running a business. he's doing what he likes to do, and combined it with the food side of had his love. now he runs as a separate business.
i would still though look at it in terms of confusing things, your brand category. brand is nothing but a promise delivered. it's about the promise you're deliver together customer. >> thanks so much, you guys. sometimes running a small business can feel like an uphill battle. entirely if your bank account is looking a little lean and it's getting harder to get credit. you might want to look into trade as an option. here's a lesson in the bakes of bartering from a group of companies based in michigan. >> we have our flyers printed on trade. >> we've gotten our landscaping, windows. >> we buy a lot of supplies for one thing on trade. >> we get dumpsters on strayed. >> blinds, pool supplies. >> all of our vehicle maintenance is done on trade. >> our logos for our shirts were business cards, brochures, everything. >> it saved us a lot of cash. >> these small business owners found a not so new but not much talked about way to grow their companies. >> bartering is the exchange of products and services without the use of cash.
>> they've all signed up with barter exchanges which are helping them boost their businesses without dipping into their company's cash. >> the number one reason to join the trade exchange is new business. a barter company brings you customers that you didn't have. the number two reason to join the trade exchange is new business. >> here's how it works. for a small fee, businesses join a trade exchange. once they provide a product or service for another member, they receive a credit in their barter bank account which they can then use to buy something from someone else in the group. jason iris and sam doe nel low owners of naturalistic land scapes signed up with trait first in 2006. >> the materials for this 0 job were purchased on trade and the total is about $6,000. chuck and shanton start their cleaning business, michigan office clean two years ago. they found out about trade exchanges during a networking
event. >> chuck came home and told me about it. i was like it sounds too good to be true. the more research we did about trade first, the better it seemed. >> the lurchens say they would have had a much harder time finding business in the beginning if they hadn't signed up with the exchange. >> we didn't have any clients. chuck found trade and that's how we got our first client. and then from there, it just built from referrals. >> they have built a steady stream of trade business. jay used credits he earned cutting people's hair to hire them to clean his salon. >> i know if i need a new product or service on trade that, i'm going to get quality, that i'm going to get somebody in the same game i'm in. it's almost like you know their business practice ahead of time and that's a lot of fun. >> and nicolas ritz trades meals at his restaurants to earn credits that he spends on the cleaning service, as well. amongst other things. >> the first purchase i ever did was an awning actually which was
a $15,000 that for any business would be tough to do without some kind of assistance. >> when we come back, we'll have some tips on keeping your work computer secure. and wine and media entrepreneur gary tells us about the pompbs banking customers and how not doing that could cost you big-time. i'm sam chernin, owner of sammy's fish box. i opened the first sammy's back in 1966. my employees are like family, and i want people that work for me to feel that they're sharing in my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families. when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. how can the gold card help serve your business?
booming is taking care of your business by taking care of your employees. the business world has undergone a huge cultural shift thanks in large part to the social media craze. entrepreneurs are now engaging directly with customer at an unprecedented scale and speed. our guest helps explain how forging personal relationships with consumers will build success in today's thank you economy's calls it. gary boehner check is owner of new jersey's wine library and the personality behind wine library tv and authored his second book called "the thank you economy." >> thanks for having me. >> explain what is the thank you economy? >> i believe we're building through a huge culture shift where consumers voice matters so
much more. you have a bad experience in a restaurant ten years ago, you leave, maybe you'll call your best friend or mom. but three people are ached by that experience. now as we all know, phone, check-in, take a picture, text it, tweet it. >> yelp. >> facebook it, tumbler it it, all that stuff. i'm surprised that people are struggling to understand the economic impact of that. it's substantial. i believe that customers with a pulse, with an actual heart that are going to care about the end user are going to win in a world where the consumer and the user is gaining more power. >> so what do you suggest we do? be nicer to customers or how do you protect yourself? i'm not mother teresa. i don't want to the go rock climbing and tea drinking. i'm a businessman. i believe this matters now. and so what i think needs to happen is first and foremost, awareness it's happen. i'm stunned by how many great business leaders are putting their head in the sand and making pretend they don't feed to be on facebook and twitter
and tumbler. these sites are talking about your business or your genre every single second on these sites. your ability to go in and act like a cocktail party and engage with them and turn them into real advocates and users and super users is very viable and here. >> that is what's fascinating about this is how much information you can get about your customers because you have access to all of this public information now. >> certainly.twitter.com right now is the most important website on the internet period. i built my brand, almost 9,000 followers on twitter by going on twitter and searching the word chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir. don't try to sell them right away. somebody would say looking for pinot to pair tonight with my chicken. i could have easily said here's a good deal on wine library.com or i could have said funny, i just did an episode watch this. what i did was said what kind of pinots have you had in the past?
too many people are trying to close. every business is trying to push. that's the big revolution, television, radio, print, all this stuff was push the message. now it's about listening instead of talking. >> i was talking to a colleague the other day. they said it's kind of creepy. i'm a customer of this business or just going about my own life asking wa wine to pair with dinner and suddenly some guy who runs a wine company gets in touch with me. what's your reaction to that. >> i respect that. but the data clearly has shown 95% of the people when you're acting nice are going to respond well to it. i'm sure there's tons of super private people but they end tend not to be the people users of twitter and facebook anyway. how many people right now watching in right this second said five years ago i'm never getting a facebook account. and have one now? exactly. there are tons of people that draw lines in sand. i think that's a line in the sand that's going to go away just like somebody saying they wouldn't get a cell phone 15
years. >> the time it would take you to search pinot merlot, whatever on twitter and get in touch with all of these people. >> a lot. i was running a very large business and took away interest selling on the phone or buying wine to going in the trempbls. i made a commitment. i think it's important for any business to live in reality but project a little bit more things going. there's no roi. we'll get there in three years. you end up looking like borders and blockbuster. both companies when the web was evolving decided it was a fad, borders gave amazon their infrastructure, they're out of business. blockbuster poo-pooed what netflix is doing. they're out of business. i think it's extremely any disto poo-poo social pedia. >> granks for coming on. >> thanks so much. you're probably well aware of the dangers that computer viruses pose but there are other security issues to keep in mind, as well. here now are five of them.
courtesy of network security firm for the net. number one usb drives. infected drives are a frequent cause of compromised networks. you should have settings that restrict the type of drives being plugged in. two, laptops and in the books. for computers frequently used by people outside the office, it's entirely important to encrypt sensitive information. three, wireless access points. any wireless network is susceptible to outside attacks. encryption and password protection should be used here, as well. four, smart phones. in some cases these devices contain as much information as computers. similar to usb drives access restrictions should be put in place. and number five, e-mail. e-mails can contain viruses that mine for employees' access credentials and company information. have controls in place that is verify senders and filter suspicious messages. it's time now to answer some
of your business questions. jerry and jeff are with us once again. here's first a question about launching a business. >> how do you know when you should make a business plan, write everything down, analyze it, you know, discuss it with all kinds of different people and when you should just you know sit down and go for it? >> i love this question because we often talk on this show about write a full business plan, think through everything. i must admit when the i started my company, we had ideas but we just went with it. >> nothing wrong with that, a little ready fire aim is a good thing. always start with an idea and test it and even when you've got a business established, go back to that assumption and take a look at it and question it again and again. i wrote the book "the mirror test." i'm looking in the mirror and does the dog eat the dog food. >> my brevity friend has an idea. she's launched a site and asked me for help in writing a business plan.
my question for her was, for whom? >> what do you want to do with it, that's the question. if you're looking for traditional financing, a business plan is a must. >> you need it. >> if you're looking for outside investors, you're looking to attract them, you need a business plan. you want to give them some heft, something to look at. >> in her case even if she's not looking for that, 80s good so somebody can get you to sit down and think of all the questions, help you look in a mirror. >> what's your propses to yourself. that's the most important thing for an entrepreneur is what is it i'm going to want to build? do i want to build theis for lifestyle, for profit, for scale or eventually sell it? i want to keep those plans and those promises in front of me. a business plan is a must even if it's on the back of a napkin and you carry ta around. >> that's the kind of thing you can decide what kind you're going to write. >> i've had many successful businesses and never had a business plan. don't let the business plan hold you up. that could be a real bad idea. >> on the other hand, you are a business-minded guy. >> yes. >> somebody who might not be
might need more of a plan. >> it may it be good for certain people and not others. if you need help writing a business plan or even obtaining financing for a small business, go to your local small business development centers. they're free and they will be glad to help. >> you or score. >> one of the first ones i used when i start the many years ago. >> good. let's move onto the next one. this is a question about whether or not to accept an offer for fund iffing. >> is it worth taking a round of funding now even though we don't necessarily need it in order for the added security later on but also taking the risk of losing additional control we night not need to necessarily give up. >> that is the key losing control. >> this question just makes me laugh almost as if people are throwing around money or not. the bottom line is, that i don't think you should be so flippant about taking money. if you're going to take money, make sure you need it.
otherwise you may lose control of your company and you don't want to do that. >> on the other hand, if somebody's offering you money now, bird in hand, should you be so quick to turn it down? >> it depends on what you really want to do. if it's looking for scale and you know you're going to be needing it at some point and sometimes business doesn't go the way you want to, it's a great way to reduce your risk. that's one of the things. it depends on your risk profile. me personally i would never take it because i'm confident in the way i can build the business and contacted i've had over many years. if you're new, you might want to weigh off some of that have business. don't expect limo rides or don't expect to sleep is another example. you my want to lay off some of that risk. >> i agree with jeff here. the only reason i'm going to take money is if i need it. that's not exactly why you want to invest in me if i need your money. >> maybe there's some sort of
conversation you can have with someone saying i don't feed it right now but let's stay in touch and let's check in again in six months from now, a year from now. >> the terms might be different. >> hopefully you won't have to giveaway as much. finally a question about charging for your product or your service. >> given that our technology is so unique and there's no one else out there that has our technology, what would be the ideal price point for news. >> it's a great question. >> you've got to look at your competitors and see where you rank and what's your differentiation. getting back to your goals. i would like to have a margin goal. i want to make so much money in my pocket so i want to look at that and going to put those together and that gives me my price. >> however, also, if you're going to be competing with businesses that have been doing this forever, top names in the industry, pioneers of high fidelity, you're going to have to spend a lot of money and have a great distributor, great marketing. you have to have a product that
stands behind all this great technology. >> that's the tricky thing is how does he get the message across this is great technology and that that's probably worth a little bit more money. >> absolutely. just that justifies the price. when he says it's a higher end technology, it's going to have to have a higher end price. >> thanks so much. this was great advice. a fun conversation with you guys. and if any of you out there have a question for our exexperts go to our website. the address is open forum.com/your business. there just hit the ask the show link to submit a question for the panel. the website is open forum.com/your business or you can e-mail us your questions and comments at your business at msnbc.com. >> jerry and jeffrey had some really helpful ideas how to improve your business. now let's get some great ideas from entrepreneurs just like you. >> well, building a brand is pretty key. that drives everything. if you get a name recognition, you get the brand out there, then the financing is going to be able to flow pretty easily.
it's going to be pretty easy to tract employees and easy to tract dealers and customers. >> we have video tutorials and we've really found that not only helps people understand our products but it helps them connect with our company better. so i'd encourage every company to use video to communicate with their customers. >> we have a great idea we're using calling drop ship. and when we started the company, we were doing the traditional brick and mortar store front retailer where they buy a large amount of inventory interest us and keep it sitting in their store. we've converted that. we're holding the inventory and we're shipping directly to the end user. >> sometimes there is nothing more annoying than sitting at the airport for hours on end waiting for your flight to take off. if you're looking to avoid those long waits, check out our website of the week. flight caster is a free
application that helps you gauge flight delays up to six hours before you depart. you can find the program at flight caster.com. the program analyzes ten years of flight data combined with current travel conditions to project the likelihood of your flight being delayed. fight caster is available as a web-based service or you can download a free app for your iphone or blackberry. to learn more about today's show, click on our website. it's open forum.com/your business. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. don't forget to become a fan of the show on facebook. we look forward to getting some your feedback. follow us on twitter at am msnb your biz. next week we'll meet the owners of an alabama bookstore swindled by one of their own employees. >> you've heard of identity theft and people getting taken advantage of but you never think it's going to happen to you. >> find out how this husband and
wife team are picking up the pieces after their police fell victim to fraud. till them, i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. i grew up in the bronx. i just loved it here. i'm sam chernin. owner of sammy's fish box. my uncle owned a restaurant up on city island. and we started going to the restaurant in the summers. 8, 9, 10 years old. i knew immediately that this is what i like, never dreaming that i would own seven restaurants. i want people that work for me to feel that they're sharing in my success. so we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. and we accumulate as many membership reward points as possible. and use those points to reward our employees. they get a trip with their family,